Every year, National Geographic conducts a photography contest where they get thousands of entries of which they select some of the most visually stunning images. These award-winning photographs are across different categories with the common theme of nature. While there is a grand prize for the photography contest, winners are also picked from each category as well. Here are some of the winning photographs of the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest. Also Read - Reel Life Ram Arun Govil Watches Ramayan Along With His Grandchildren, Picture Goes Viral
Grand Prize – Sardine Run
Greg Lecoeur/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
During the sardine migration along the Wild Coast of South Africa, millions of sardines are preyed upon by marine predators such as dolphins, marine birds, sharks, whales, penguins, sailfishes, and sea lions. The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques to create and drive bait balls to the surface. In recent years, probably due to overfishing and climate change, the annual sardine run has become more and more unpredictable. It took me two weeks to have the opportunity to witness and capture this marine predation. Also Read - Over 19 People Killed in Massive Forest Fire in China’s Sichuan Province
Animal Portraits winner – Dragging you deep into the woods!
Varun Aditya/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
I shot this at Amboli, Maharashtra, India, on July 24, 2016, during a morning stroll into the blissful rain forest. Ceaseless drizzles dampened the woods for 10 hours a day; the serene gloom kept me guessing if it was night or day. The heavy fog, chilling breeze, and perennial silence could calm roaring sprits. And there I saw this beauty. I wondered if I needed more reasons to capture the habitat, for I was blessed to see this at the place I was at. I immediately switched from the macro to the wide-angle lens and composed this frame. Also Read - BWF Freezes Rankings Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Standings Backdated to March 17 to be Basis For Entry in Future Events
Animal Portraits second place – Proud Momma
A female peacock bass guards her brood in a Miami, Florida, freshwater lake. She will protect her young fry from a variety of predatory fish until they are large enough to fend for themselves. This tropical freshwater species, also known as the peacock cichlid, was introduced in Florida in the mid-1980s from South America to control the tilapia population, another invasive species. Throughout its native range (and in Florida) its a prized sportfish known for its fighting spirit.
Animal Portraits third place (a) – Friendship knows no color
Two bodies of Empusa pennata in the same plant was the rare scene I found when I visited one of my favorite locations for macro shots. This area is located near a village called Las Rozas in Madrid, Spain. Theres a small stream about one kilometer long where you can find a varied
ecosystem with many different types of insects and arachnids. From May to September, I had seen up to four different Empusas alone on their plants, but on this day I was extremely lucky when I found two individuals on the same plant. I took advantage of such a discovery and mounted my macro set and took several photos of this magical scene, where the Empusasseem to play or dance, sharing the same plant like good friends.
Animal Portraits third place (b) – Puffin studio
This image was taken during the summer of 2015 on Skomer Island, Wales. This island is well known for its wildlife and the puffin colony is one of the largest in the U.K. The photo shows a detail or study of an Atlantic puffin resting peacefully under the rain. As Skomer is not inhabited, puffins do not feel afraid of humans, and people can get really close to puffins. That morning, the conditions were perfect. Both fine rain and a soft light, so much appreciated by photographers, helped to take this picture. In order to get this angle from above the bird, I couldnt make use of the tripod, as it could disturb the puffin. The photo had to be taken handheld, which added an extra challenge.
Animal Portraits honorable mention – Crow chasing puffy owl
This shot was taken on an early September afternoon along the riverbank at Pasir Ris Park in east Singapore. I was hoping to capture wildlife in action when some movement in the bushes nearby caught my attention. Instinctively, I prepared my equipment to capture any action that might ensue. I was fortunate enough to witness this adult crow chasing an adult buffy fish owl right in front of me, proving at once that the crow was the more aggressive species of the two. The entire spectacle between these day and night creatures lasted less than two seconds and exemplified nature in its uninhibited form.
Landscape winner – Struggle of life
Jacob Kaptein/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Last year I participated in the Marius van der Sandt Beurs. This scholarship stimulates photography by young photographers. For a whole year I was guided by some excellent nature photographers to realize a project I wanted to accomplish. I chose a natural stream restoration project of a nature organization in the Netherlands. The first time I entered this patch of forest, I immediately saw this little beech. I came back several times to photograph it. One evening, just after sunset, all the light conditions were perfect. I stood in the cold water for more than an hour making many photos while I experimented with different shutter speeds.
Landscape second place – Wild rink
The first cold days of winter have frozen the surface of a pond, and the first snowfall has revealed its delicate beauty. In low-pressure conditions, southwest winds push the clouds against the vertical peaks of the Pale di San Martino. At dusk, a long shutter speed enhances the movement of the clouds around Cimon della Pala, one of the highest peaks in the Dolomites.
Landscape third place – Pacific storm
Santiago Borja/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
An isolated cumulonimbus storm developed over the Pacific Ocean a few miles south of the coast of Panama City. It sat atop a temperature inversion that created a thick overcast layer of clouds. The strong updrafts of the storm quickly reached the tropopause and spread out, creating the characteristic anvil. The strongest updrafts pierced the tropopause and turned into what scientists call the overshooting tops. The entire frame was lit by a single lightning from within the storm in a moonless night on June 16, 2016.
Landscape honorable mention – Serendipitous green meteor
Anand Varma was visiting me and I was showing him around a mountain range in South India called the Western Ghats. We camped on the side of a road and I set up my Nikon D600 and a 24-70mm lens to take 15-second exposures. I set the camera to take 999 images. I slept next to the camera and it continued taking pictures until dawn. It wasn’t until the next afternoon that I reviewed my images and noticed something unusually bright and green. I showed it to Anand, and we realized that I had captured an extremely rare event. After checking with a few experts, I learned that it was a green meteorite, and getting it on camera is very rare. This is an example of being at the right place at the right time to capture something totally unexpected. For those 15 seconds, I was the luckiest photographer on the planet.
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